Draft prep: Free agents to be
Who is on the verge of getting paid after the 2008 season? Dave Richard lists the players in a contract year and notes why they're worth targeting in drafts this summer.
Rams running back Steven Jackson said it best when asked about his motivation for the 2008 season.
"Well, we all know what happens in a contract year: you ball out," Jackson said. "So, I expect to."
Money is one of two motivators for football players (the other, for most of them, is winning). Time and time again it's been proven that when a player has a chance to cash in with a long-term deal with lots of guaranteed money, he does everything in his power to play well. Big production equals big bucks.
One such example is Shaun Alexander , who, in a contract year in 2005, had a career-best 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns, then a record for most scores in a season from a non-quarterback. Alexander then got paid handsomely the following offseason and logged two poor campaigns that saw him total just over 1,600 rushing yards and 11 scores. Alexander is now contemplating his next career move.
A player playing for a contract will fight hard through a minor nagging injury, while a player who got rewarded might not fight as hard (or even suit up) with the same injury. That's why Fantasy Football owners should always be aware of players who just got paid, and players who are in a contract year.
We've kept track of the players who signed new contracts this offseason, but with the 2008 season on the horizon, we thought it would be a good idea to let you in on the notable players who are not signed past this year. Expect the motivation of these players to be amped up since so much is at stake for them.
|Note: UFA -- unrestricted free agent; RFA -- restricted free agent; EXRFA: exclusive rights free agent|
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